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Sam Laidlaw’s BLT Wins Again in Quarter Ton Class

22nd May 2023
Sam Laidlaw’s BLT in winning form in the Quarter Ton Class at the Vice Admiral’s Cup
Sam Laidlaw’s BLT in winning form in the Quarter Ton Class at the Vice Admiral’s Cup Credit: RORC

As Royal Cork Yacht Club prepares to stage the Quarter Ton Cup in July, it's clear the form boat is Sam Laidlaw’s BLT which has been winning all around them on the Solent.

Laidlaw’s BLT won the Class for the third regatta in a row for a hat-trick of victories at the weekend's Vice Admiral’s Cup for the Cowes-based team.

Louise Morton’s all-women team racing Bullet finished the regatta with a win in race six to take runner-up, just two points behind BLT. Third was Jan Thirkettle’s Olivia Anne VI.

“We had a cracking weekend, great racing in perfect conditions, with a good ding-dong with Louse (Morton),” commented BLT’s Sam Laidlaw. “Mid-May is a great time of year as it starts to warm up a bit and the breeze is decent. The regatta was very well organised, and I hope that we will have more Quarter Tonners enjoying it next year; I think the small turn-out was due to a lot of the crew racing in the Cape 31 Class. As always, BLT is a team effort, and I can’t thank the crew enough; Brett Aarons, Tom Forrester-Coles, Ed Lynch, and Ryde School sixth-former Killian Boag on the bow.”

Royal Cork will stage the 2023 2023 Quarter Ton Cup in Cork Harbour from July 13-15th, and plans are afoot to make it 'the Quarter Ton sailing event of the decade'.

The Cup is coming to the Irish south coast from the Solent (for the first time since the Cup was resurrected 17 years ago).

The Quarter Ton Cup is awarded to the World Quarter Ton class championships winners between 1968 and 1997 and for the Quarter Ton Classic Revival from 2005 to the present. The fleet's main centre is on the Solent.

Published in Quarter Ton Team

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About Quarter Tonners

The Quarter Ton Class is a sailing class of the International Offshore Rule racing the Quarter Ton Cup between 1967 and 1996 and from 2005 until today.

The class is sailed by smaller keelboats of similar size and is likely the world's most-produced keelboat class.

The Ton, Half, Quarter, etc. 'classes' were each given a 'length' and yacht designers had almost free rein to work the hull shapes and measurements to achieve the best speed for that nominal length.

The Ton Rules produced cranky and tender boats without actual downwind speed. Measurement points created weird, almost square hull shapes with longish overhangs.

They were challenging to sail optimally and lost value very quickly as any new wrinkle (e.g. 'bustles') to take advantage of the rule made older boats very quickly uncompetitive.

Although its heyday was 30 years ago, the boat class continues to make its presence felt by holding its own in terms of popularity against some fern race fleets.